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Author, activist, educator Jonathan Kozol to speak at York College on Oct. 5.

September 11, 2017
Jonathan Kozol

Award-winning author, activist and educator Jonathan Kozol will speak at York College at 7 p.m., Oct. 5, in the Waldner Performing Arts Center. His talk will be followed by a book signing and is open to the public free of charge with ticket, which is available at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/10201589.  

In the passion of the civil rights campaigns of 1964 and 1965, Kozol gave up the prospect of a promising career in the academic world, moved from Harvard Square into a poor black neighborhood of Boston, and became a fourth-grade teacher. He has since devoted nearly his entire life to the challenge of providing equal opportunity to every child in public school. 

“Death at an Early Age,” a description of his first year as a teacher, received the 1968 National Book Award in Science, Philosophy, and Religion. Among his other major works are “Rachel and Her Children,” a study of homeless mothers and their children, which received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and “Savage Inequalities,” which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992. His 1995 best-seller, “Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation,” received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1996. 

Ten years later, in “The Shame of the Nation,” a description of conditions that he found in nearly 60 public schools, Kozol wrote that inner-city children were more isolated racially than at any time since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. “The Shame of the Nation” appeared on The New York Times bestseller list the week that it was published. 

Kozol’s most recent book on childhood and education is “Fire in the Ashes,” a sweeping narrative that follows a group of children in a destitute community out of their infancy and elementary grades, through their secondary years, into their late teens, and beyond. Some of their stories are painful and heart-breaking, but others are dramatic tributes to the resilience and audacity of courageous children who refuse to be defeated by the obstacles they face and find their way at last to unexpected and triumphal victories.

The nation’s most widely read and highly honored education writer and one of the most eloquent advocate for children of low income and for racial diversity in schools and universities, Kozol has been speaking to overflow crowds as child poverty has risen to unprecedented levels and racial tensions have become the focus of urgent political concern.

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